Thomas Franklin McCowan, Sr., 72, of Bloomington, passed away at 11:25 PM, Saturday, October 11, 2014, at home.
Visitation will be from 4—7p.m. on Wednesday, October 13, 2014 at Beck Memorial Home, Bloomington, IL. Funeral services will be on Thursday, October 16, 2014, at 11:00a.m. at the memorial home with Pastor Barry West officiating. Burial will be at Park Hill Cemetery, Bloomington, with military rites. Memorials may be made to his grandchildren’s college fund.
Thomas “Tom” was born in Normal, Illinois at Brokaw Hospital, on October 20, 1941, the son of Joseph and Dorothy Eileen Crow McCowan. He married Darlene Stine in 1963, in Bloomington, IL and became a father to Thomas McCowan, Jr., later that year.
He is survived by his son Tom (Kelly) McCowan, Jr., Bondville, IL; grandson, Brishan McCowan; and granddaughter Briahna McCowan, both of Sidney, IL, plus sisters, Joleen (Randy) Anderson, Aberdeen, WA; and Cathy (Rick) Clem, Bloomington, IL; brothers, Steven (Sue) McCowan, Mission, TX; Christopher (Brenda) McCowan, Champaign, IL; and Patrick (Jenny) McCowan, Chicago, IL. He is also survived by 18 nieces and nephews, plus 17 great-nieces and nephews, and former daughter-in-law Joni Roy of Sidney, IL. Tom was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Darlene, one brother, Mark McCowan, and one grandson, Evan McCowan.
Tom lived in Hudson as a child, and rural Towanda, but Bloomington was home most of his life. After graduating from Bloomington High School, he enlisted in the United States Navy, at the age of 17. He served aboard the USS Intrepid CVA-11, specializing in propulsion and power systems. He also rode “the Wire” at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on horseback, guarding US ammunition depots from the Communists, across a single barbed-wire fence, at the time just before the Cuban Missile Crisis. Tom visited many ports-of-call during his service to his country, but perhaps the highlight was being part of the retrieval operation for Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter, in May of 1962.
After discharge from the Navy, Tom worked at Frey Motors and Ralston-Purina in Bloomington. He began as a lineman with the General Telephone Company in the mid-1960s, and worked his way up to become a Systems Engineer, a position he held for many years, traveling across the country, installing and repairing computerized telephone switchboards. He retired from the company, which by then had been acquired by Verizon, in 2002.
Tom enjoyed golf very much, and played as long as his health would allow. He was a member of the National Rifle Association and an outspoken patriot of his country. He enjoyed his grandchildren’s sporting events and was a dear grandpa to them. He would quote TV comedian Red Green to us all, at this time, “Remember, I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together. Keep your stick on the ice.”